- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Thames & Hudson (October 1, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0500278466
- ISBN-13: 978-0500278468
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #188,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Green Imperative: Ecology and Ethics in Design and Architecture Paperback – October 1, 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
When designer Papanek lays down precepts for design in the 21st century or questions a professional code of ethics, he is clearly addressing other designers and architects. But when he explains Le Corbusier's "visual accoustics" or the Wiener Werstatte, it seems safe to assume he envisions a broader audience of consumers who, if made aware of the possibilities, can demand better, more responsible design. As in his Design for the Real World, Papanek derides conspicuous consumption and rapid obsolescence. Using examples drawn from various cultures and other research to bolster his case, he urges designers and architects to incorporate ethics (Does an object help the needy? Does it use scarce resources?) and humanity (Do the light, acoustics and scale foster a sense of well-being?). While Papanek is all for fun in design, he dismisses such senseless elements as add-ons that don't really improve performance (the annoying car voice intoning "your door is ajar") or miniaturization that ignores the limits of the human body. He urges consumers to break the cycle of consumption and be aware of the difference between eye-catching marketing and good design. The Green Imperative itself lacks something in design: it covers so much that the argument is occasionally diffused. Still, Papanek is committed to his subject and becomes almost poetic when discussing Inuit and Balinese design or the necessity of integrating the ephemeral and the permanent. 152 illustrations; 46 in color.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
In his groundbreaking work, Design for the Real World (1971) (still in print and available in 23 languages), Papanek introduced the idea of an ethics of design. Now, 25 environmentally irresponsible years later, he reiterates his plea for ecologically sound design of everything from food packaging to buildings. Designers and architects possess a remarkable ability to blend the demands of aesthetics with those of technology; why not add to that the pursuit of innovative ideas for avoiding pollution and other forms of environmental degradation. And the burden doesn't rest solely on designers: we should all demand products and buildings that are created in harmony with nature. Papanek offers many instructive ways of assessing the environmental impact of various materials and manufacturing processes. He also, in perhaps the book's most intriguing section, discusses how one "senses" a building and how vernacular architecture maintains its close connection to the land it occupies. Much as Papanek expresses concern over environmental problems, he does have hope. We are a species, after all, that seeks challenges and loves novelty. Let's harness those urges and clean up our act. Donna Seaman
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Papanek is overly optimistic about fossil fuels and how we can use dead plant material, banana leaves and cane sugar to replace gasoline. A problem with this is that, as a population we would need countless amounts of alternative fuels to satisfy gas needs. The world will start forcefully killing off plants and overusing these resources to fulfill their needs
Although Papanek talks about creating slower and cheaper alternatives for a better environment, society has gotten used to technology getting faster and easier to follow. Industries are also trying to out-do each other and are probably afraid slowing down or changing because of selling less and loosing profit. It’s overly optimistic to think all companies will change their ways when they are so comfortable in their lane. People don’t like to be limited or have a “backwards” way of thinking.
I found it difficult to read as a serious book as there are places where politics supercede accuracy. "within seven and a half years the entire energy needs of the world could be supplied by...solar panels...Super-conducting cables *would* carry the power to areas with less sunlight." emphasis mine, page 43 "Finnish design... 22mm rifle.." .22 caliber (inch), perhaps? page 52
Also, a blithe treatment of the issue of economics "the timber industry generally refuses to engage in selective harvesting from multi-species mature forests..." page 36
This book could have brought Greens and industry closer together. Rather, it gives Greens more "evidence" of an anti-environmental conspiracy.